CBSE Class 11, Hornbill
(NCERT English Core Textbook)
Silk Road by Nick Middleton
NCERT Solutions (Answers) of Chapter 9, Hornbill textbook exercise questions
Understanding The Text
Question I. Give reasons for the following statements.
1: The article has been titled "Silk Road".
2: Tibetan mastiffs were popular in China's imperial courts.
3: The author's experience at Hor was in stark contrast to earlier accounts of the place.
4: The author was disappointed with Darchen.
5: The author thought that his positive thinking strategy worked well after all.
Solution-1: The lesson is an article about the journey on the main east-west highway, which was the old trade route from Lhasa to Kashmir. This route was once used by traders to bring silk from Kashmir, hence the name “Silk Road”.
Solution-2: Tibetan mastiffs are a breed of large powerful hunting dogs with a dark face. They are capable of chasing their victims for long distances with all their might. These ferocious Tibetan mastiffs were brought to Chinese imperial courts along the Silk Road in ancient times and were considered as tribute from Tibet since they served as powerful guard. So, they were popular in China's imperial courts as hunting dogs.
Solution-3: Hor is located on the shore of the sacred lake Mansarovar. The author had heard about the experience of Japanese monk who was so moved by the sanctity of the lake Mansarovar that he burst into tears. Similarly Seven Hedin, a Swede, spoke so highly about this place. But the author was disappointed when he himself visited Hor. To him it was a grim and miserable place. There was no vegetation. He found there were only dust and rocks. Thus, the author’s experience was totally in contrast to the descriptions given by the earlier travelers of this place.
Solution-4: The author had heard that Darchen was bustling with visitors in the pilgrimage season. Accordingly, the author he came here on his way towards Mount Kailash. He was disappointed to find that there were no pilgrims in Darchen, which looked rather deserted. He had planned to do the Kora in the company of devout believers but he had arrived too early for that. He had to wait long before the pilgrims would arrive, so he was disappointed.
Solution-5: The author was disappointed that there were no pilgrims in Darchen. He tried his self-help programme on positive thinking to keep up his spirits. It seemed to work very well because he soon met Norbu and they could do the kora together.
Question II. Briefly comment on.
1: The purpose of the author's journey to Mount Kailash.
2: The author's physical condition in Darchen.
3: The author's meeting Norbu.
4: Tsetan's support to the author during the journey.
5: "As a Buddhist, he told me, he knew that it didn't really matter if I passed away, but he thought it would be bad for business”.
Solution-1: The author's purpose in making the journey to Mount Kailash was to do the Kora, a religious trip made by the devout Hindus and Buddhists. The author, an Englishman, wanted to make an experience of this great religious practice himself and also see the lake Mansarovar, snow capped Himalayas and Tibetan culture.
Solution-2: Darchen is located at a very high altitude from sea level. The author felt it difficult to breathe and sometimes gasped for oxygen which was an effect of high altitude. He suffered from cold too. He felt uneasy while lying down but sitting up gave him a little comfort. His condition deteriorated and so, was taken to Darchen Medical College. Ultimately, the medicines restored his health.
Solution-3: The author was in a disturbed state of mind when he met Norbu. He was thinking about the various options and how to develop positive thinking with his self-help programme. Norbu was a Tibetan who, like the author, was there to do Kora. Getting a companion for the journey gave the author his much needed positive thinking back. Norbu seemed to be an ideal companion for the author.
Solution-4: Tsetan was a great support to the author during the difficult journey to Darchen. When they left Ravu for Mount Kailash, it was Tsetan's complete knowledge of the place and people that gave a lot of help to the narrator. Tsetan was a very competent driver. He could drive over the snow and negotiate even the sharpest turns. He could talk in English. At Darchen, he took the sick author to Darchen Medical College where he was given medicine, which helped him to get well. In fact, without Tsetan’s support the author could not have visited the Kailash.
Solution-5: These uncharitable remarks of Tsetan should be understood from the viewpoint of a Buddhist. Buddhism teaches that one should not be worried about death as life is full of sorrow. Death only brings emancipation. Man gets liberated from the sorrows of the world. However, as a taxi driver, it would be bad for his business if a passenger who travelled by his taxi dies soon after the journey. So Tsetan said that the author’s death would be bad for his business.
Thinking About Language
Question 1. Notice the kind of English Tsetan used while talking to the author. How do you think he picked it up?
Solution-1: Tsetan is able to communicate his feelings, though his English is grammatically incorrect. Being a taxi driver, he has picked up just a working knowledge of English. He doesn’t speak English much but whenever he speaks, he does so only in phrases or half sentences.
I think Tsetan should have picked up his English from the English speaking foreign tourists whom he ferried in his car.
Question 2. What do the following utterances indicate?
(i). "I told her, through Daniel...."
(ii). "It's a cold," he said finally through Tsetan.
Solution-2(i): "I told her, through Daniel....". This sentence of the narrator indicates that Daniel knew the local Tibetan language. It also indicates that the woman Lhambo, for whom the message was meant, did not know English.
Solution-2.(ii): "It's a cold," he said finally through Tsetan. It indicates that Tsetan acted as an interpreter between the Tibetan doctor and the narrator. The doctor didn't know English and the author didn’t know the doctor’s language. So they spoke through Tsetan who knew the local language and had picked up a workable knowledge of English as well.
Question 3: Guess the meaning of the following words: kora, drokba, kyang. In which language are these words found?
Solution: ‘Kora’ means the pilgrimage or "parikrama" to Mount Kailash as a religious ritual.
‘Drokba’ seems to refer to a long-sleeved sheepskin coat worn by men.
‘Kyang’ refers to wild asses whom the author noticed while going by car from Ravu towards Hor.
All the three words are of Tibetan language.
Class 11, Hornbill, SILK ROAD - More Study Materials
- Class 11, Silk Road - Solutions of CBSE Questions Bank for Hornbill - NCERT English Core (Courtesy: India Study Solution)